Robert Bradshaw

Dr Robert Bradshaw BSc, PhD, FHEA

Senior Lecturer in Analytical Science. Co-Placement Lead for Department of Biosciences and Chemistry.


I began lecturing in Analytical Science at Sheffield Hallam University in 2016.

My research is predominantly in the fields of forensic and environmental science, making use of a plethora of analytical techniques, including; mass spectrometry, chromatography and spectroscopy. I am particularly focussed on the detection and quantification of contaminants derived from plastics and the analysis of counterfeit documents.  


I obtained a BSc (Hons) in Forensic Bioscience from Sheffield Hallam University and then went on to complete a PhD on a project entitled "Towards the integration of MALDI MSI into the current Home Office Fingermark Examination Workflow" under the supervision of Prof. Simona Francese.

During my PhD and Postdoctoral Research, I worked closely with the UK Home Office and West Yorkshire Police to develop this novel approach for the analysis of fingermarks obtained in criminal investigations. I have co-authored 16 of the papers published in this niche research area. I have written/co-written 4 book chapters on forensic science and mass spectrometry imaging.

I am a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and a Member of the Royal Society of Chemistry. I am on the committee for the North East Region Analytical Division of the RSC. 


Department of Biosciences and Chemistry

College of Health, Wellbeing and Life Sciences

I currently teach on a number of Undergraduate and Postgraduate courses in the area of analytical science/chemistry. This includes the theory and applications of a broad range of advanced analytical techniques.


The detection and quantification of food contaminants derived from plastics

Food packaging has seen drastic changes over recent years due to increasing demands from the food industry. The packaging is often made from plastic material which contains additives to provide flexibility, strength and make them long lasting. This ensures that the quality of the food product is maintained. However, the rising demand for appropriate packaging has also seen an increase in awareness of potential food/environment contamination from components derived from the plastic material.

My research aims to detect and quantify potential harmful species derived from plastic food packaging/containers using a range of mass spectrometry (both profiling and imaging) and chromatography based methodologies. This will inform the safety of the materials that are currently being employed and the extent of leaching that may occur in different scenarios.

The use of mass spectrometry imaging in forensic science

I have extensive experience in mass spectrometry, in particular the use of matrix-assisted laser desorption ionisation mass spectrometry (MALDI MS). This technique has the potential to provide both chemical and physical information from samples which could prove to be useful in forensic investigations. I apply my knowledge by working on a number of projects concerned with different forensic samples. To-date, I have co-authored 14 papers published in the area of mass spectrometry imaging.

I am currently researching the use of mass spectrometry imaging and spectroscopic methods for the identification of counterfeit products and forged documentation through ink/substrate analysis.

The analysis of latent fingermarks using matrix assisted laser desorption ionisation mass spectrometry

Fingermarks are derived from a transfer of material from the friction ridge skin on our fingertips to a surface upon contact. Traditionally, the pattern of the ridges on fingermarks have been employed as a means of biometric identification. The development of the use of MALDI-MS to analyse latent fingermark residue can now allow for information on the endogenous and exogenous chemical content to be obtained which may be able to provide invaluable intelligence about an individual in forensic investigations.

This research, headed by Prof Simona Francese, first began in 2008. I have since co-authored 16 of the papers published in this niche area of science with work that has been supported by the UK Home Office and West Yorkshire Police.


Kjeldbjerg Lassen, J., Bradshaw, R., Villesen, P., & Francese, S. (2023). Statistical modelling investigation of MALDI-MSI-Based approaches for document examination. Molecules (Basel, Switzerland), 28 (13).

Badjona, A., Bradshaw, R., Millman, C., Howarth, M., & Dubey, B. (2023). Faba Bean Flavor Effects from Processing to Consumer Acceptability. Foods, 12 (11).

Bradshaw, R., Wilson, G., Denison, N., & Francese, S. (2020). Application of MALDI MS Imaging after sequential processing of latent fingermarks. Forensic Science International, 110643.

Heaton, C., Bury, C., Patel, E., Bradshaw, R., Wulfert, F., Heeren, R., ... Francese, S. (2020). Investigating sex determination through MALDI MS analysis of peptides and proteins in natural fingermarks through comprehensive statistical modelling. Forensic Chemistry, 20 (100271), 1-12.

Hogeling, S.M., Cox, M., Bradshaw, R., Smith, D., & Duckett, C.J. (2019). Quantification of proteins in whole blood, plasma and DBS, with element-labelled antibody detection by ICP-MS. Analytical biochemistry, 575, 10-16.

Scotcher, K., & Bradshaw, R. (2018). The analysis of latent fingermarks on polymer banknotes using MALDI-MS. Scientific reports, 8 (1), 8765.

Francese, S., Bradshaw, R., & Denison, N. (2017). An update on MALDI Mass Spectrometry based technology for the analysis of fingermarks - stepping into operational deployment. The Analyst, 142, 2518-2546.

Bradshaw, R., Denison, N., & Francese, S. (2017). Implementation of MALDI MS profiling and imaging methods for the analysis of real crime scene fingermarks. Analyst, 142 (9), 1581-1590.

Bradshaw, R., Denison, N., & Francese, S. (2016). Development of operational protocols for the analysis of primary and secondary fingermark lifts by MALDI-MS Imaging. Analytical Methods, 8 (37), 6795-6804.

Patel, E., Cole, L.M., Bradshaw, R., Batubara, A., Mitchell, C.A., Francese, S., & Clench, M. (2015). MALDI-MS imaging for the study of tissue pharmacodynamics and toxicodynamics. Bioanalysis, 7 (1), 91-101.

Groeneveld, G., de Puit, M., Bleay, S., Bradshaw, R., & Francese, S. (2015). Detection and mapping of illicit drugs and their metabolites in fingermarks by MALDI MS and compatibility with forensic techniques. Scientific Reports, 5 (11716).

Bailey, M.J., Bradshaw, R., Francese, S., Salter, T.L., Costa, C., Ismail, M., ... de Puit, M. (2015). Rapid detection of cocaine, benzoylecgonine and methylecgonine in fingerprints using surface mass spectrometry. Analyst, 140 (18), 6254-6259.

Bradshaw, R., Bleay, S., Clench, M., & Francese, S. (2014). Direct detection of blood in fingermarks by MALDI MS profiling and imaging. Science & justice, 54 (2), 110-7.

Bradshaw, R., Bleay, S., Wolstenholme, R., Clench, M., & Francese, S. (2013). Towards the integration of matrix assisted laser desorption ionisation mass spectrometry imaging into the current fingermark examination workflow. Forensic Science International, 232 (1-3), 111-124.

Bradshaw, R., Wolstenholme, R., Ferguson, L.S., Sammon, C., Mader, K., Claude, E., ... Francese, S. (2013). Spectroscopic imaging based approach for condom identification in condom contaminated fingermarks. The Analyst, 138 (9), 2546.

Francese, S., Bradshaw, R., Ferguson, L.S., Wolstenholme, R., Clench, M.R., & Bleay, S. (2013). Beyond the ridge pattern: multi-informative analysis of latent fingermarks by MALDI mass spectrometry. The Analyst, 138 (15), 4215.

Francese, S., Bradshaw, R., Flinders, B., Mitchell, C., Bleay, S., Cicero, L., & Clench, M.R. (2013). Curcumin: a multipurpose matrix for MALDI mass spectrometry imaging applications. Analytical chemistry, 85 (10), 5240-5248.

Bradshaw, R., Rao, W., Wolstenholme, R., Clench, M.R., Bleay, S., & Francese, S. (2012). Separation of overlapping fingermarks by Matrix Assisted Laser Desorption Ionisation Mass Spectrometry Imaging. Forensic Science International, 222 (1), 318-326.

Bradshaw, R., Wolstenholme, R., Blackledge, R.D., Clench, M.R., Ferguson, L.S., & Francese, S. (2011). A novel matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionisation mass spectrometry imaging based methodology for the identification of sexual assault suspects. Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry, 25 (3), 415-422.

Ferguson, L., Bradshaw, R., Wolstenholme, R., Clench, M., & Francese, S. (2011). Two-step matrix application for the enhancement and imaging of latent fingermarks. Analytical Chemistry, 83 (14), 5585-5591.

Wolstenholme, R., Bradshaw, R., Clench, M.R., & Francese, S. (2009). Study of latent fingermarks by matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionisation mass spectrometry imaging of endogenous lipids. Rapid communications in mass spectrometry, 23 (19), 3031-3039.

Conference papers

Battle, R., Woodroofe, M.N., Clench, M., Bradshaw, R., Harrison, P., & Clark, B. (2013). A bioinformatics and proteomic approach for the identification of peptides derived from HLA class I molecules and presented by HLA-A*02. INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF IMMUNOGENETICS, 40 (5), 414.

Book chapters

Bradshaw, R. (2023). MALDI MS Imaging of Cucumbers. (pp. 63-69).

Francese, S., & Bradshaw, R. (2021). New Chemical Imaging Approaches to Fingermark Dating by Mass Spectrometry. In Technologies for Fingermark Age Estimations: A Step Forward. (pp. 237-259). Springer International Publishing:

Bradshaw, R., & Francese, S. (2021). Chapter 15. MALDI Mass Spectrometry Imaging in the Forensic Arena. In MALDI Mass Spectrometry Imaging. (pp. 359-386). Royal Society of Chemistry:

Bradshaw, R., & Francese, S. (2021). Chapter 15. MALDI Mass Spectrometry Imaging in the Forensic Arena. In MALDI Mass Spectrometry Imaging. (pp. 359-386). Royal Society of Chemistry:

Bradshaw, R. (2017). MALDI mass spectrometry profiling and imaging applied to the analysis of latent fingermarks. In Cole, L. (Ed.) Imaging mass spectrometry : methods and protocols. (pp. 149-163). New York: Humana Press:


Badjona, A., Bradshaw, R., Howarth, M., & Dubey, B. (2023). Ultrasound-assisted Protein Extraction from Faba Beans: Impact on Protein yield and Structural-functionality. Presented at: 37th EFFoST International Conference 2023, Valencia, Spain, 2023

Postgraduate supervision

Director of studies - Veronika Tibljas, Mass Spectrometry and Spectroscopy for detection of counterfeits and document forgery, Biomolecular Sciences Research Centre, Sheffield Hallam University

Director of studies - Qurat Ul Ann Farooq Mirza, Analytical determination of food contamination from plastic packaging, Biomolecular Sciences Research Centre, Sheffield Hallam University

Co-Supervisor - Abraham Badjona, Pulses for health and environment: Fava bean processing, molecular identification and analysis, 01/02/2022-Present – NCEFE, Sheffield Hallam University

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